As fuel prices around the nation climb and worry about electricity bills growing, more and more people are leaning towards alternative energy. Solar systems are being installed by ever more people who want to take a path to greener energy. A study says, almost 3.8 million houses will be using solar energy by 2020.

The expected lifetime of a solar system is 25 years. Which is a far better cost-effective solution over the time if you do the math. The durability and efficiency are two aspects that’ll save your hard-earned money. Choosing the right photovoltaic panels is the key to get longer and better performance.

In this best solar panels reviews guide, we will discuss pretty much everything about solar panels- advantages of solar panel, how does it actually work, what are the best rated solar panels in 2018? We have reviewed the top solar panels, their specifications, pros and cons and how much warranty they cover. You’ll get all your answers as you go through this guide.


Are solar panels worth it?

1.Remember the 30% tax credit for installing solar panels which were going to expire at the end of 2016?  It has been extended to 2019. Which means if you buy and run your solar panels within the next 2 years, you will get a solar investment tax credit of 30%. ( If your gross system cost is said, 20,000$, your tax credit will reduce your net cost to 14,000$. After 2019, the credit reduces to 26% in 2020, and 22% in 2021. By the end of 2023, the tax credit will be no longer available.

The tax credit doesn’t only apply to your solar panels, rather any work need to be to go solar, like reroofing or upgrading panel box. Government is looking forward to a society mostly run by alternative energy. Which tells us, now is the high time to get solar panel set up done.

  1. The cost of setting up solar panels is lesser than ever. Since 2009, the price has now fallen by 70%. Increased popularity and competent manufacturing process is the reason for that. Top solar panel manufacturers have come up with extensive warranty policy, which covers all costs of solar panels up to 25 years. Some companies even providing power purchase agreements so that you do not have to pay the money at once.
  2. How much will you save by using solar panels? It depends on the consumption of electricity from your house. The average price of electricity in the U.S is 12 cents per kWh, according to NPR. On the contrary, the average price of solar energy is 6 cents per kWh, which is half of the electricity price.

Now, let’s do the math. On average in the U.S, a household uses 908 kWh of electricity per month (It varies from state to state). So, the electricity bill is around 109$ per month, and 1308$ per year. As the price of solar panels has fallen down to $10,045- $13,475 on average, the system will start paying you back within 8-10 years. Through a span of 25 years, you’ll save around 20,000$.

Even in a state like Idaho, where electricity bills are the lowest, around 8 cents per kWh, you’ll break even in 11-14 years.


Types Of Solar Panels

Solar panels can be classified into three main categories, monocrystalline, polycrystalline and thin film. Usually, when you see a solar panel on a roof, it is one of those three categories.

Which one is the best solar panel? There is no clear answer. They don’t have the same efficiency and materials, and the cost also varies. Each has its own advantages or disadvantages. Sometimes the most efficient panel might not be the most cost-effective on your case, it all depends on the short-term and long-term priorities of your system.

Monocrystalline and Polycrystalline panels cover 90% of all the solar panels used today, and they use silicon as their photovoltaic material. Silicon is a long-lasting, steady material which is available and easy to use. On the other hand, Thin-film panels are made of other materials, giving them a different set of advantages. We will go into more details for each of them in the below.


Monocrystalline Solar Panels

They are the most efficient, highest rated solar panels, delivering from 14% -21% efficiency level. They are the oldest too, originating from 1950’s. Monocrystalline Solar Panels use a complex manufacturing process in order to get the most out of silicon. Long silicon rods are manufactured and then cut into short pieces. Those pieces look like thin wafers, they are then joined into a grid shape. The wafers contain rounded corners, together they make a distinctive shape.

The silicon ingots that are used in manufacturing Monocrystalline Solar Panels, are very pure in nature. So they have the capacity to produce a good amount of electricity, hence the high-efficiency percentage.



  1. Monocrystalline is one of the highest used solar panel types, domestically and commercially. Also, they can be used both large and small scale.
  2. They provide high-efficiency rate and perform well in low lights. They perform four times better than thin film panels.
  3. They take up a little space. Due to their high efficiency, you do not need a large number of panels.
  4. Most of the companies offer up to 25 years of warranty with their monocrystalline panels.


  1. With quality comes the price. Those panels are costly, costlier than their counterparts.
  2. They also produce more waste when manufactured due to their shape. The ends of each wafer are cut and treated as waste during the process.


Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The raw material used in polycrystalline solar panels is also silicon, but the manufacturing process is different. The process is simpler and reduces the wastage of silicon. Raw silicon is melted and poured into a square-shaped mold. The silicon slowly cools off and forms a block. The block is then cut into perfectly square wafers.

The process uses almost all of the raw material, reducing wastage to almost zero. However, polycrystalline panels deliver slightly lower efficiency from monocrystalline panels. (13%-16%)



  1. The wastage of raw materials during the manufacturing process is very low, making this solar panel affordable to more and more users. If you have a good space to use, the polycrystalline panel is the best option.
  2. This solar panel type offers a decent efficiency. Not so high compared to its monocrystalline counterparts, but cost-effective in short-term if you take the price into consideration.
  3. The heat tolerance polycrystalline panels offer is slightly lower than monocrystalline. That means, by compromising the performance in high heat only a bit, you’ll get to save a good amount of money.



  1. The efficiency of polycrystalline solar panels is lower than monocrystalline panels. That means, if you need a great amount of electricity with lesser space to spare, they might not be your solution.
  2. They usually take more space than monocrystalline panels to install and set up.
  3. They are less pleasing to the eyes than the other two types due to their glittering blue color.


Thin-Film Solar Panels

Also known as the second generation solar panel, as they came after the previous two types. Basically, they are the kind that made solar panels easy to produce on industrial levels and affordable to the population. Unlike its former counterparts, the thin-film solar panel doesn’t solely depend on silicon as the photovoltaic material. Rather, it uses alternative mediums.

Thin film panels are made placing one or multiple thin layers of photovoltaic materials onto a substrate. The materials used usually are-

Organic photovoltaic cells (OPC)

Amorphous silicon (a-Si)

Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS/CIGS)

Cadmium telluride (CdTe)

They provide less efficiency than first-generation solar panels, ranging from 7%-13%, usually loitering around 9%. However, the future models are expected to perform better at 10%- 16% range.



  1. They are easier to manufacture, which makes them the cheapest of all solar panels. Also, they are lightweight and can be made flexible, which makes them suitable for various alternative uses.
  2. They perform fairly well in high temperatures and low lights. Furthermore, the identical look that comes with them makes them more eye pleasing.
  3. If you have lots of space to use and a lower budget to spend, thin film solar panels can be the best option for you.



  1. They deliver lower performance than silicon-made solar panels, also requiring lots of space to install. This makes them unsuitable option for residential use, where the usable area is tight.
  2. Although they come with a lower price, associated costs often get the better of it due to maintenance, cable, support components.
  3. They usually come with the shorter warranty period. Which means, their expected lifetime is shorter. They tend to get affected by the weather and damage faster.


Mono-crystalline vs Polycrystalline vs Thin-Film solar panel comparison

So, which one should we go for? If there was a single answer to that, there would be no need to produce the other types, right? Nevertheless, the choice depends on the budget, vision, and priorities of the user.

Both mono-crystalline and poly-crystalline panels are efficient in terms of producing electrical power. Mono-crystalline panels are slightly pricier, but also slightly more efficient. Poly-crystalline panels don’t fall far behind; some model even performs better than lower level mono-crystalline panels.

As for space, mono-crystalline panels take the lowest amount of space among three types to produce same electricity.

Thin-film panels come with the lowest price, providing the lowest rate per watt. But the lifetime is lesser than the other two. If you have a larger space to spare and low lifetime expectancy, like for commercial use, thin-film panels might actually be a better choice.

Thin-film panels leave the lowest environmental footprint, which means they are more environment-friendly than silicon-made panels.


How Do Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels have been considered as an alternative power source for a long time now. More and more roofs and road signs seem to be decorated with them. We are looking towards a future run by solar energy in an effective way, but how do they actually work?

Solar panels are a collection of smaller units, named as the photovoltaic cell. These cells are basically made of two parts, attached to each other like a sandwich. Each part is made using a semiconducting material, most of the times silicon. Together they work to make an electric field.

When the sun particles, aka photon, hit a cell, they discharge electrons from the atoms. The two sides of a cell act as a circuit, one being positive and one being the negative side. Free electrons flow through the circuit, generating electricity. Metal conductive plates on either side of the cell gather the electrons and send them to wire.

A number of cells make up a solar panel unit, and a number of units together make a solar setup. The more panels you add; the more power you get. Those panels stay attached to each other via wire to build a solar array.


How Solar Panels Are Installed

Although DIY solar panels can be made at home, even installed for powering some of the tools, you’ll need professional service for home scale use. Although the process looks simple, an installer with proper training, knowledge on fire code and local permitting are needed.

If you are interested to know how to install solar panels, go through the steps below.

  1. The first step is finding a solar installer in order to get an estimate of expenses. You can search online, or ask neighbors and friends who had solar panels installed before. The installer will ask you some questions, like your monthly electricity bill, your budget, your roof condition, angle, roof age. After getting all those information, he’ll give you a rough quote.

If the installer is experienced enough, he will most probably give you solar financing options and let you know about any government incentives you might be eligible for, like the Federal Tax Credit we’ve discussed before.

  1. The installer will then make an appointment and inspect your house. He’ll check your house condition, roof, and electric system to determine the suitability of installing solar panels. He’ll evaluate your property to make sure that it is compatible with local code and suggest you any upgrade if needed.
  2. After that, the installer will suggest the best solar panels for you, and additional components like inverter, racking, etc. He’ll make an installation and site design plan. He’ll determine how much panels can be installed, how they’ll connect with your home and the wiring system. The plan should be on par with local building code and fire safety needs. These laws differ from state to state, so make sure you find a practiced installer. He’ll then submit the proposal to building department and permit department.

Getting the permission takes some time, usually from 1-3 months. Your installer should keep you updated about the progress and let you know the possible date of installation once the permission is granted.

  1. Physical installation is the easiest part of all, some might say. The installer will come to your house with necessary equipment and start installing the panels. You’ll be able to see the work if you want. Depending on your requirement, it might take 1-3 days. After the installation, the installer will clean the space and start working on the last phase.
  2. Each city, state, area has its own assessment system. After the installation, an official will visit your place and check the system. If he finds no violation with the codes and fire service requirements, he’ll give a clearance.

This inspection can happen after some time, and the waiting period might range from a few days to few weeks. You just need to be patient. However, working with local and experienced installer will give you a better chance of staying updated on the process.

After the inspection being done, you’ll be able to start your solar panel system, start seeing the meter running backward and your investment paying off.


How Much Energy Does a Solar Panel Produce?

Apart from the Sun's intensity being a factor, the amount of energy a solar panel can produce depends on 3 factors.

  1. Solar panel size
  2. Solar panel efficiency
  3. The quantity of sunlight the panel receives.


1.Solar Panel Efficiency

Solar Panel efficiency is a performance indicator, and buyers usually look up to this when they what to know how much electricity to expect. The efficiency is the percentage of solar energy converted into actual energy. It’s measured in percentage. A 20% percent efficiency means you’ll get 20% as usable energy of the sunlight the panel receives.

To define solar panel efficiency, the panels go through the Standard Test Conditions (STC). STC says that the panel was tested at the 25c temperature and 1000W/m2 irradiance. Under this condition, an efficiency of 20% will mean it produces 2 watts every 100 cm2.

Solar panels used to deliver 6% efficiency and produced 20 watts of electricity back in the 1950s. During 2010, it enhanced at 15% efficiency and 200 watts. Nowadays, the best home solar panels, like monocrystalline ones deliver 20-21% efficiency and 265 watts of electricity.


2.Solar Panel Size

Size does matter when it comes to solar panels. The bigger your solar panels are; the more energy you’ll get. In 2018, most of the solar panels come with a dimension of 39 inches’ width and 65 inches’ length (3.25’ X 5.4’). Which means the space a solar panel takes up is 17.5 square feet. The electricity produced from each panel is anticipated to 265 watts at 20% efficiency. This makes it easier for a homeowner to determine how much space he needs.

Remember, you have to consider ‘Solar Panel Setback’ when you measure your roof space. The setback is the clearance distance between each side of the roof and solar panels. So that amount of space should be out of measurement. Usually, the amount takes up 25% of the total roof space.

So the space you need to install solar panel system is- Number of solar panels you need X solar panel size (17.5 sq. ft.) X 1.25.


3.The Quantity of Sunlight the Panel Receives

The quantity of sunlight the solar panels get will determine whether they’ll fulfill your expectation or not. So, observe your roof for a few days to know the real condition of your roof. Or, you can use a video camera to get a 24 hours’ scenario.

The efficiency of solar panels depends on a few factors, the direction, and angle of your roof, the amount of shading it gets, the season of year.

The roofs facing south, south-east or south-west generally gets the best sunlight. However, roofs facing east or west will still suffice. The ideal angle of your roof is between 10- 60 degrees, the middle point being the most suitable.

As for shading, you’ll have to check physically. Usually, your roof might be shaded in early morning and late afternoon, which is normal. If the roof is shaded permanently, all the time, then installing a solar panel on roof won’t be fruitful. To yield an acceptable amount of electricity, you have to make sure your roof gets at least 4 hours of full sun. Full sun indicates the times of a day when the sun is in the lowest position.

Solar panels don’t produce same energy all year long. There are times when the roof gets lesser natural light, i.e. winter season, or rainy days. However, there are different ways to store solar energy for using up later. (



How Many Solar Panels To Power A House

Generally, households in the USA use 900 KWh of electricity every month on average. ( Which means they need 30 kWh of electricity per day.

Now, usually, a solar panel produces 250 watts of electricity per hour. Which means if you get 4 hours of full sun, a solar panel will produce 1 kW per day.

Which means if you want to meet 100% of your daily energy needs, you’ll need 30 solar panels.

Some solar panels have higher power ratings than that’s, like 320 watts. Some have lower, like 170 watts. Adjust the amount according to the solar panel ratings.

30 panels with 250 watts’ capacity mean you’ll need a 30 X 250 watts= 7500 watts or 7.5 KW solar panel system.


How Many Power Do My Devices Use

It depends on the devices you use, the area you live in, the season of the year. For example, West and South part of the USA tends to use more electrical devices for heating and air conditioning than the other two parts. People use more power in winter seasons.

However, a simple bulb uses 60 watts of electricity, an energy bulb uses 18 watts. Laptops and Desktops use respectively 45 watts and 250 watts on average. A refrigerator uses 100-200 watts. As for air-conditioning, split-type AC and central AC use 1000 and 3500 watts respectively on average.


How Much Do Solar Panels Cost

In 2018, solar panel installation cost ranges between 2.87$ to 3.85$ per watt. The average cost of solar panels in the USA is 16,800$, which reduces to 10,045$-13475$ when the tax credit is applied.

This is actually a lot lower than it was 1 year ago. The price of solar panels continues to fall, thanks to high production rate and latest technologies.

The average cost of solar energy in the USA is 3.16$, which means a 5 kW system, which is mainly used in the households, will cost 15,800$ dollars. After the tax credit is applied, the cost of solar panels system will come down to 11,060$.


Likewise, A 6 kW system will cost 13,300$.

An 8 kW system will cost 17,700$

A 10 kW system will cost 22,100$


The average solar panel cost will vary from state to state. This is just a rough estimate. If you want to know how much are solar panels, and get a real quote, your local installers can help with that.


Solar Panel Cleaning

Solar panels are made tough, and they can take quite a beating themselves. In most residential home, solar panels are set up on the roof, flat and tilted. Most of us do not clean our roofs, not even on yearly basis. “Rain will do that for us”, solid point indeed.

Solar panels are self-cleaning, so most of the time, you don’t need to bother about cleaning them. A good rain now and then will do its work. However, sometimes, especially in dry areas, dust and bird droppings gather over the time and reduce the efficiency. Bird poops might not even get washed properly during the rain. So it’s only beneficial to do a little cleaning yourself every now and then.


How to Clean Solar Panels

  1. The first thing you have to do is contacting with your solar panel installer, they might have any recommendations for cleaning.
  2. Try to do the cleaning from the ground, a hose with good water pressure, a soft brush with long extension should work fine. If you cannot clean properly from the ground, make sure you have proper safety precautions before going to the roof. If needed, hire a trained professional for the job.
  3. Solar panels can be very hot on a sunny day, under the full sun. So the best time to do the cleaning is on an overcast day, early morning or late afternoon.
  4. Do not use metal brush or harsh object to clean any stubborn grime, scratching will affect the performance of that panel. Also, avoid using harsh detergents. Liquid soap with an extended soft brush or sponge, clean water, and a little scrubbing should do the work for you.
  5. “Leave well enough alone”, this applies to solar panels too. A lot of times cleaning solar panels isn’t just worthy, considering the hassle, risk of accessing the rooftop. In some areas, it rains more frequently. So unless the dirt is clearly visible or hampering the performance of your solar panels, let nature do its job.


Best Solar Panels Buying Guide

Choosing what will be the best solar panels for home or office isn’t an easy decision. It’s a long-term investment, and multiple factors are attached. Installation is actually the easiest part, but you’ll have to go through various evaluations like rooftop angle, the amount of sun your roof gets, compliance with local laws, codes, and fire safety requirements.

After that comes the cost. You’ll have to weigh the energy bills you pay and the long the saving solar panels bring with them. You’ll have to get an estimate of the cost of buying and installing solar panels. This will help you know how many years will it take to retrieve your investment.

Which solar panel will be the most suitable for you? That depends on factors like your budget, future plan, your energy requirement, warranty preference, rooftop space etc.

We have gone through the features you need to decide on before buying a solar panel. This buying guide will help you prioritize your needs, narrow your choices and ultimately choose the best solar panel for you.



This feature comes as a percentage, the higher the better. It represents how much energy a solar panel can produce in a standard area. Usually, monocrystalline solar panels have the most solar efficiency, up to 21%. If your roof space is low and you have a decent budget, they are the one you can go with. Polycrystalline solar panels are the next best option which comes with 16% -17% efficiency with a lower price tag.



In case of solar panels, price and cost-effectiveness are often two different issues. Monocrystalline solar panels are the priciest, but they provide a really long service time. Most of the monocrystalline panels now come up with 25 years’ warranty but are expected to go for 35-40 years, which will give you an amazing profit once the investment is recovered.

If your budget is lower, you can go with polycrystalline or thin-film panels. Thin- films are the cheapest option among all.


Rooftop Space

Lower efficiency means you’ll have to provide more space to lower level solar panels to produce the same amount of electricity. For example, the area required for 1 kW power is respectively 6-9m2, 8-9m2, and 13-20m2 for mono, poly and thin-film panels. Which means while a monocrystalline panel takes 1 square foot to produce 15 watts of electricity, other takes more space than that.

You have to evaluate your electricity need and compare it to the space you got. If your rooftop space is scarce, go for monocrystalline panels. If your rooftop space can cover the space required by polycrystalline panels, you can have any of them.


Warranty and Repair

Warranty is an important issue when it comes to solar panels. If you want an uninterrupted return on invest, you have to make sure the warranties cover any additional repairing cost for the given time.

Good news is, the solar panels made these days are strong and durable. Manufacturers now provide 25 years of warranty for monocrystalline and polycrystalline panels and 10-25 years for thin-film panels. Within this time, while you can concentrate on counting your profit, manufacturers will cover any repair or replacement needed.


Materials And Weight

Low-quality solar panels are often made of cheap, non-durable glass. Quality panels come with tempered glass that has been strengthened using heat-treatment method. The difference is one will need frequent repairing, will the latter will go for years.

Weight and dimension is another thing you should keep an eye on. It’s better to discuss with an installer beforehand to determine whether your roof can handle the weight, meet the local code and let the system work perfectly.



You have to make sure the solar panel you are going to is tested and certified. It’s even more important when you go for government incentives like tax credit. The certification will let you know the types of tests done on the product. For example, TUV IEC 61215 is a certificate which represents that the product has been tested by an independent laboratory and certified passed.

There are other certifications that are given by the manufacturing company itself. This is where brand becomes an issue because you have to trust them being honest. And it’s better to trust a well-established company who has the most to lose from being false.


Solar Panel Mounting

It is an important issue and most solar installers may skip it if you don’t ask it. Make sure you get necessary papers about wind certifications from them.

The mounting is what keep the panels strongly attached to the roof years after years. You have to make sure the mounting is good enough and on par with the regulations. Especially, if you live in a cyclone prone area, make sure your solar panel mounting and other equipment are cyclone rated.


Solar Inverter Efficiency

The solar inverter is the gateway between your solar panels and home electrical system. This a box that converts DC electricity coming from panels to household usable AC electricity.

Check the efficiency of the inverter before buying, if you have low-quality inverter installed, no matter how sophisticated your solar panel setup is, a percentage of the electricity will be lost as heat during the conversion. Be aware of the cheap and generic inverters.


Other Considerations

There are some other things you have to know before buying a solar panel. They aren’t directly connected with specifications, rather with common sense.

Be realistic when you are getting your quota. Remember, you get what you pay for. Having an unexpectedly low budget isn’t always a positive thing. This means you will have poor equipment and poor installation, which will only increase your trouble in the future.

Take a few quotes before you take the ultimate decision. Do not get carried away seeing a lower quote, because inferior products and equipment might be used to make up that cost. Make sure you know what are you getting for the price.

Do not make hasty decision. There will be salespeople who’ll persuade you to make instant decision. They might even come up with some exclusive deals that’ll end just today. Keep your head clear, tell the person you’ll consider the offer and choose when you’re ready.






Best Solar Panels | Our Picks

Solar Panel Comparison Table

  Type Max. Power (Watts) Voltage (Volt) Special Features Weight (Pounds)
Renogy 100 Watts Monocrystalline 100 12/24 Long Warranty, Durable 16.5
Mighty Max Battery

100 Watts

Polycrystalline 100 12-18 Cheap, Durable 19
Renogy 100 Watts Kit Monocrystalline 100 12 Full Package, Negative Grounding Controller 19.84
Dokio 200 Watts Monocrystalline 200 12 Lightweight, Foldable 10.5
ALLPOWERS 100W Monocrystalline-Thin Film 100 18 Flexible, Super Lightweight 4.1
ECO-WORTHY 120 Watt Monocrystalline 120 12 Portable, Briefcase Style 26.5
Renogy 150 Watt Monocrystalline 150 12 Low light performance, Waste drainage hole 25.5



Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel | Best Residential Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel is specifically made for those who have just started using solar panel systems. This is an off-grid solar panel which means you can store the power for further use. This grid impartiality provides an awesome opportunity to power up cabins, caravans, boats, trailers, RV’s and small houses. This is a monocrystalline panel and it comes with 25 years of output warranty, the longest you can get on the market.

Renogy solar panel reviews are good and this one panel got IEC 61215, UL1703, IEC 61730 certifications under its belt. The IEC certification represents that the panel was tested by an independent lab and certified fit. The manufacturers themselves performed Wind, mechanical and loading test. The result is apparent because it can withstand high winds at 2400 PA and snowfall at 4800 PA.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 100W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 5.29A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 18.9V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.5V

Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.75A

Output Cables: 4.0 mm2 (0.006 in2), 800mm (31.5 in)

Connector Type: MC4

Weight: 16.5 pounds

Dimensions: 47 X 21.3 X 1.4 Inches


What We Like

This panel provides high proficiency, under an ideal condition and available sunlight, it can generate 500-watt-hours.

The best residential solar panel with resilient aluminum frame, which will protect the panel for decades.

5 years of material and repairing support. Pre-drilled holes on the back make the installation easy.

The protective glasses are anti-reflective, transparent, and heat treated which increases rigidity and impact resistance.

Diodes come installed from the manufacturer. A box containing diodes, two 31 inches’ cables and MC4 connectors comes with the package.


What Could Be Better

Not as good in mix-matching panel setups as they are when used in multiple pairs.


Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts 100W Solar Panel 12V - 18V Poly | Cheap Solar Panel

This one is the polycrystalline version of 100 watts’ solar panels. They come at a slightly lower price, are compact and sleek looking. The Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts 100W Solar Panel 12V - 18V Poly is a portable panel. It comes in a convenient shape, with pre-drilled holes to attach anywhere and a set of MC4 connectors. Whether it is camping, marine or boating, mighty max is perfect for off-grid uses.

Mighty Max 100 watts have been popular for delivering what it claims. You’ll get a 12-volt panel with an optimal voltage of 18 volts at best, and 100 watts of solar power. You can either charge up the 12V battery, or build a 24V/48V off-grid battery system by connecting multiple ones in series.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 100W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 5.62A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 18V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.8V

Maximum System Voltage: 1000V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.92A

Output Cables: 35 inches

Connector Type: MC4

Weight: 19 pounds

Dimensions: 40 x 27 x 1.4 Inches


What We Like

This is one highly efficient photovoltaic cell delivering 500-600 watt-hours of electricity depending on the availability of the sun.

The aluminum frame is strong and tested against winds and snow loads, it can withstand a snow weight of 5400 PA.

You can use this panel either as a single setup or connecting multiple ones in a series of power-up bigger infrastructures like a caravan, mobile homes, small apartments.

Sturdy and sleek design. This cheap solar panel is a good bang for the buck, and works fine with different charge controllers from the market.


What Could Be Better

Doesn’t come with charge controller and inverters, you have to buy them separately.


Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit w/ 100W Solar Panel | Best Solar Panel Kit

Most of the good panels on the market don’t come as a package. You might find a decent panel, but without a proper and compatible setup, their output will be below par. Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit w/ 100W Solar Panel eliminates that problem, with the cheapest price a good brand can offer. Renogy, the best solar panel kit comes with all the necessary things needed, except the battery.

With a system expandable up to 400 watts, new solar users will find it incredibly convenient to use for sheds, cabins, boats, mobile homes. The system runs off-grid and ensures quiet production of electricity.

The package includes a resistant aluminum frame, the panel, a PWM negative charge controller of 30A, connectors and 8ft 10AWG tray cable. The last one is to connect the battery and charge controller.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 100- 400W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 5.29A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 18.9V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.5V

Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.75A

Output Cables: 4.0 mm2 (0.006 in2), 800mm (31.5 in)

Connector Type: MC4

Max Series Fuse Rating: 15 A

Fire Rating: Class C

Weight: 19.84 pounds

Dimensions: 47 x 1.5 x 20.9 Inches


What We Like

The freedom to upgrade the system, the updated 30A Renogy Wanderer controller gives the opportunity to reach 400-watt capacity.

The ideal performance is 500 watt-hours per day, it can increase depending on the obtainability of sunlight. You can charge a 50aH battery from 50% to 100% in less than 3 hours.

The negative controller provided extended safety when it comes to off-grid uses. For example, a car, or mobile home chassis part have battery negative, the controller ensures misconnection safety.

The package is attuned to flooded, gel or sealed battery. It provides 4 stage charging and protects the battery from over-charging, overheating or short circuit.


What Could Be Better

Some people like voltmeter with their package, Renogy can surely think about that in their next upgrade.


Dokio 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel with Inverter Charge Controller | Best Foldable Solar Panel

Dispose of the heavy battery!! As much as beneficial solar panels can be, many people don’t like the weight that comes with the package. Dokio 200 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Foldable Solar Panel offers a solution to that problem. Conveniently, the panel packs up 200 watts’ electricity but weighs less than its 100-watt counterparts.

This panel is only 0.2 inches thick, foldable, and easy to carry. When folded, it can be kept behind seat backs or under the mattress. As needed, when camping it can be positioned in the sun and supported against a table, rock or tree. The Dokio panel comes with a low-end PWM charge controller, attaching cables, user manual and battery clamps which can be stowed in the sewn-in pocket on the outside if needed.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 200W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 11.2 A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 18 V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.5V

Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 11.36 A

Connector Type: MC4

Weight: 10.5 pounds

Dimensions: 28.7 X 21.2 X 0.9 Inches (Folded)

Dimensions: 28.7X 85 X 0.2 Inches (Expanded)


What We Like

The flexibility that comes with it. You can transport, attach, sling and remove it, anywhere, anytime. The panel is covered with a pocket sewn of thick textile, making it look and work like a carrying bag.

Nothing can beat Dokio as the best foldable solar panel. Due to the low weight and folding ability, you can use this panel for a wide range of applications including camping, hiking, fishing, picnic, charging your smartphone or even car batteries.

This panel can be used without a battery, for direct power supply, just a Dokio inverter controller will suffice.

The Dokio panel is waterproof and comes with a 25-year performance warranty. The model reduces mismatch loss to ensure the power output is at peak.


What Could Be Better

The wiring attached to the battery is somehow long, so there is a chance of voltage drop along the cable. This can be solved easily though, rewire the cables so that the battery cable is the shorter one and panel cable is the longer one.


ALLPOWERS 100W 18V 12V Solar Panel Kit Charger Monocrystalline Lightweight Flexible | Best Flexible Solar Panels

Flexible solar panels are bendable up to a point and lighter than regular solar panels. They are easy to install, generally needing no bolt. These features make them extremely suitable to use in RVs, mobile homes, boats, ships, yachts etc.

When it comes to bendable panels, the best flexible solar panel is ALLPOWERS 100W 18V 12V Solar Panel Kit. It is only 0.09 inches thick, can be bent 30 degrees, a very lightweight solar panel at 4.1 pounds and waterproof. If weight is an issue for your boat or vehicle, or it has a curved roof, Allpowers solar panel can provide you all the flexibility you need. Each Allpowers panel comes with MC4 connectors that can attach effortlessly to solar compatible devices.

This is a monocrystalline panel made of thin film structure, which means this will provide a decent module conversion efficiency despite having a flexible structure. The junction box is water resistant and sealed, making it a perfect panel for all outdoor uses. The panel delivers 100 watts of power. The frameless design only comes with 4 pre-drilled holes, you can carry, install and hang it anywhere you see fit.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 100W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 5.56A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 18V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 20V

Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 5.8A

Connector Type: MC4

Hail Impact: 1 inch/ 52 mph.

Weight: 4.1 pounds

Dimensions: 46.8 x 21 x 0.09 Inches


What We Like

In spite of being flexible and thin, this panel shows amazing resistance against high wind and snow. It can withstand 2400 PA strong wind and 5400 PA snow load.

It performs outstandingly well comparing to traditional aluminum- glass models. The water-resistance and semi-bendable structure made it suitable for all types of marine uses.

The 18 month guarantee this panel comes with shows how manufacturers are confident about their product.

An internal diode comes with junction box, this diode block reversing current at the night to stop battery drainage.


What Could Be Better

Warranty periods are lower than monocrystalline solar panels.


ECO-WORTHY 120 Watt 12Volt Off Grid Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel Suitcase| Best Portable Solar Panel

What if you can carry your solar panel like a suitcase? You can meet the energy needs of odd businesses here and there, you can go off-grid any time, with the power at your backseat. More importantly, you do not have to get disconnected during camping just because your phone battery died.

ECO-WORTHY 120 Watt 12Volt Off Grid Monocrystalline Portable Foldable Solar Panel comes in a suitcase-style design. The rust-proof aluminum body is attached with four strong legs. The legs are lightweight but strong to withstand snowfall and high wind. The manufacturers gave special heed to the durability because it will be used mostly for outdoor purpose.

The Eco-worthy is the best portable solar panel with pre-configured solution to your power problems. You just have to unfold the briefcase and set it up against the sun. The package comes with two pieces of 60W monocrystalline panels attached together, one 15A charge controller, two 10ft solar cables with 30A alligator clips, handle, adjustable stand, and latches. All of them come pre-installed.

The charger controller comes in a junction box that is water-proof, giving the setup long life. The charge controller protects the battery from overcharge or discharge. It has a -20 degrees to 60 degrees operating temperature, which means you don’t have to worry about that.


Technical Specifications


Maximum Power: 120W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 7.32 A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 17.8 V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 21.6 V

Output Tolerance: ±3%

Weight: 26.5 pounds

Dimensions: 31 X 20 X 2.8 Inches (Folded)

Charger Controller Specifications


Minimum output: 12V/24V

Maximum charge current: 15A

Maximum load current: 15A

Max. solar panel: 270Watt/540Watt

Over-discharge protection: 10.8V/21.6V

Reset: 12V/24V

Over charger protection: 14.5V/29V

Float charge: 13.8V/27.6V

Consumption: 2mA/4mA


What We Like

The foldability, the pre-installed system, the suitcase style made it the perfect power backup for your holidays. The eco worthy panel has its own support and remarkable rigidity. So basically all you have to do is buy and use for RVs, boats, minivans, motorhomes or any other vehicle.

The setup comes with heavy duty wiring, conveniently tucked and attached to the system. No more loose-end wires or risk of a mismatch.

The setup works with any 12V or 24V system. The controller has a setup which prevents the battery from being overcharged during the day or reverse flow to the panel during the night.


What Could Be Better

The solar controller has no specific user control, only a green light to show its working. However, if you want to have some user control or voltage display, there are several cheap solar controllers you can buy and easily install with the system.

When folded, the solar panels are facing out on both sides. So you have to be careful about not thumping or scratching the panels. I don’t know the reason but seems like all the transportable solar panels are made this way.


Renogy 150 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel | Best Solar Panel For RV

The Renogy 150 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel is one of the reliable, highest rated solar panels on the market. The panel provides best modules for conversion efficacy of 15.15%, the guaranteed output is +/- 3%, and the setup comes with holes in the joints for waste drainage.

The panels are somehow unique. They come with manifold laminations to protect them from environmental damages. Those panels are EL tested, which means you’ll get no awkward heating due to hot spots. There are bypass diodes which ensure a constant power supply, even in low lights. The other side of the panels is also protected with TPT sheets.

The Renogy 150 watt comes installation prepared. There are pre-drilled holes on each side of the panel. The output cables and MC4 connectors are provided by the manufacturer, along with 2 diodes. What amazing is, you can use this with different Renogy mounting systems like Tilt Mounts and Z-Brackets. This is a 12-volt system, but with a combination of series and parallel connection along multiple panels, you’ll get 24V as well.


Technical Specifications

Maximum Power: 150W

Optimum Operating Current (Imp): 8.38A

Optimum Operating Voltage (Vmp): 17.9V

Open Circuit Voltage (Voc): 22.5V

Maximum System Voltage: 600V DC (UL)

Short Circuit Current (Isc): 9.05A

Number Of Cells: 36

Connector Type: MC4

Output Cables: 2.40 feet

Weight: 25.5 pounds

Dimensions: 39.5 X 39 X 1.4 Inches


What We Like

The anodized aluminum structure is solid and reliable. It can withstand snowfall load up to 5400 PA and high wind up to 2400 PA. It maintains a constant output even in low light with =/- 3% tolerance. The manufacturers guarantee that tolerance.

The top of the panels is protected by 0.13 inches’ protective glass. With smaller dimension and higher maximum output, this is the best solar panel for RVs. The glasses are heat treated and tampered with better resistance against any impact. The product comes with 25 years of performance warranty and 5 years of repairing warranty.

Wastage drainage is one of the major concerns of solar panel users. The Renogy 150 watts effectively takes away the worry by a clever design of small holes between the cells.


What Could Be Better

For a high-performance panel like Renogy, the packaging isn’t up to the mark. Some users complained of having weak packaging. However, if any damage happens due to the packaging, Renogy seems to be professional and friendly enough to replace that.


Wrapping It up

Switching to solar energy is a big decision, and you might have a lot of questions. The questions usually revolve around are solar panels really cost-effective, what is the cost of purchase and installation and what are the best solar panels for your condition. We have tried to answer all the question with proper data, statistics and the experience we have.

After that, we went to the best solar panel reviews. We explained why they hold such high standard among the users, what are the specific features that made them the most sold solar panels on the market.

We, on your behalf, performed an extensive research and brought you the best ones from a plethora of options. Hopefully, you’ll be pleased with their performances once they are installed and your electricity bills start shrinking. On top of that, you’ll feel happy and proud because you’ll be contributing towards a more sustainable environment.

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